High School Global Awareness, Social Activism & Inclusivity

HS Activism

Our high school fosters an environment of social awareness and activism, and a culture of inclusivity.

We have an active student council which organizes our HS student community and social activism, and has been a valued advocate in the constructive and ongoing change in our school and curriculum. These exciting initiatives and projects are reflected in the examples below.
 
VIDEO: Click here to learn from our HS students, what they value at Highland Hall.
 

⚙︎ Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Success Campaign

"The DEI Success Campaign, organized by the Student Council, seeks to highlight some successes that have changed our experience at Highland Hall for the better. We hope this inspires others to join in our mission with rigor and dedication." ~ HH Student Council

PB (11th Grade), Vice President HHSC

HHSC

“Over the time that I have spent at Highland Hall, I have witnessed the need for change, the want for change, and the change itself. Some of the teachers have made extreme changes to their curriculums in order to be more inclusive, and it has made a big difference in the classroom, whether it be virtual or in person. A great example of this is the change of Parcival to Malcom X. This book provided me with a glimpse into civil rights history, and it was a story of transformation. Other teachers such as Ms. Vrudny have included non-european places in the world to expand the view of the students. They have shifted the Eurocentric view of the class to be more inclusive. I believe that more changes need to be made, but the work done so far is a great start.”

global service⚙︎ Community Service on a Global Scale

As part of an initiative set up by one of our alumni parents, some of our HS Students joined the Youth-to-Youth refugee project, serving women and children in refugee camps in Uganda and Lebanon.
 
Below are examples of the amazing work being done by some of them, raising money in creative ways for a great cause, as well as getting to know the youth in other parts of the world through the exchange of correspondence, videos, and photographs:
  • An eleventh grader is raising money to purchase clothes for 150 children in the Nakivale Settlement Camp in Southern Uganda. (Pictured below are some of the clothes bought with the funds raised)
    clothes
  • A tenth grader chose to send storybooks to the children in the neighboring Oruchinga Camp. She is going to raise the funding by reading and writing stories that she will videotape and send to Uganda.
  • One of our seniors is joining a drive to build the first bakery for Syrian women in the Bar-Elias refugee camp in Lebanon. She is doing her own fundraising on the weekends, "busking for dough" with her violin at locations around L.A.Busking

⚙︎ Student DEI Sub-Committee Virtual Events

Isra Chaker

| With Guest Speaker, Isra Chaker

Ms. Chaker is a Syrian-American civil rights activist, humanitarian advocate, and public speaker. She was invited by the Student DEI Sub-Committee to discuss the following important issues:
  • Finding the power of your voice: Demonstrated by Isra Chaker's personal story of growing up and being bullied for wearing hijab. She spoke about how she decided to use her voice to change the bullying, and how successful that was by creating a Diversity Panel.
  • How to be an ally and advocate for others: Ms. Chaker spoke about how to overcome challenges in school specifically.
  • From in-person to online activism: Different ways to influence positive change online, and an approach to how to navigate that.

Dr Yoosan Park| With Guest Speaker Dr. Yoosun Park

Dr. Yoosun Park, PhD, MSW, an Associate Professor in the School for Social Work at Smith College, was invited by the Student DEI Sub-Committee to present to a group of high school and middle school students, as well as parents and teachers.

The title of her talk was, “Racism, White Supremacy, and the Problematization of Immigrants in U.S. History.” Through an analysis of the socio-legal history of immigration, Dr. Park touched on concepts such as the construction of whiteness, the origin of the model minority myth, and the connections that can be drawn between this history and our current issues.

Climate

⚙︎ Climate Crisis Art Contest

🌎 The STUDENT COUNCIL hosted an art contest for grades 6-12, to continue to raise awareness of our climate crisis. The winning submission was hung next to the school's new Air Quality Index (AQI) reader, and 1st and 2nd place prizes received an eco-friendly water bottle.
 

GSA

⚙︎ GSA Club: New Student-led Initiative

GSA, which stands for “Gender and Sexuality Acceptance,” is a student-led non-academic club focused on advocacy, activism, and socializing. The GSA club welcomes all students, grades 7-12, who would like to participate. We are proud of our students for their initiative in creating this!
 

⚙︎ Indigenous People's Day Land Acknowledgement

plaque

IPD photoOur Indigenous Peoples Day commemoration of 2020 was a very meaningful ceremony that culminated in an official land acknowledgment. The ceremony included special guests; Rudy Ortega, Tribal President of the Fernandeño Tataviam Band of Mission Indians, and his sons, Tomiear and Noli, for providing traditional songs, and to Alan Salazar, Council Elder of the Fernandeño Tataviam tribe, for his presentation of history, a story, and a blessing, and for gifting two beautiful oak trees to Highland Hall.
 
12th grader and Student Council President, Isabela Lisco, organized this inspiring event, with the support of the Highland Hall DEI Committee.
 

⚙︎ Student Council Mission Statement:

“To represent the interest of our student body by elevating all of its voices, encouraging a culture of cooperation and school spirit, advocating for changes to strengthen the curriculum and community, ensuring the administration is responsive to student needs, and providing an opportunity to develop and demonstrate empowered leadership.”